POST POP DEPRESSION by Iggy Pop
Genre: Art Punk
Favorite Tracks: “Sunday,” “American Valhalla,” “Paraguay,” “German Days”
POST POP DEPRESSION is a title that points to an era where the eternally shirtless Iggy Pop slips into a Tommy Bahama shirt and joins Alice Cooper in Maui for a tropical retirement. But before Iggy can exfoliate his crinkled skin with some black sand, POST POP DEPRESSION launches full force into a frisky potpourri of greasy, cirque melodies thanks to heavy-alt maestro Josh Homme.
Pop’s nettling psyche, prodded by the death of his dear artistic companion David Bowie, is dissected in his final album — but not with sterile, icy instruments. We are talking about IGGY POP here, folks — America’s scrawny baroque jester; deserving of a sign-off as feisty as the sheer provocation of early Stooge days. POST POP DEPRESSION rejoices in a sardonic blend of spaghetti western rhythms, funky punk pulsations, and craggy blues helmed by a well-mixed Iggy. Homme’s knack for crisp yet gothic music production tailors some trademark Queens of the Stone Age beats to suit the charms of its untamed master. Iggy’s upper register is never touched, and the album grooves to the commanding presence of Iggy’s aged baritone. Emphasis on aged, here — 68 year old Iggy is crotchety, but his prickliness pairs nicely with the album’s ramshackle theatrics. It’s a pleasantly surprising sign-off album, one that crescendos to Iggy’s ultimate return to his RAW POWER beginnings.
POST POP DEPRESSION launches with the operatic “Break Into Your Heart,” a woozy, dark track a la Nick Cave that sets a mannered atmosphere — it’s a premeditated opening driver that deviates far from Iggy’s signature wiry spontaneity. Pop’s overripe last entrance smoothly segues to spooky “American Valhalla.” Goblinesque bass rattles against a cheery vibraphone as Iggy valiantly challenges his merit and his unsolicited longevity; a lone punk knight whose appetite for riot has subsided. “Where is American Valhalla?/Death is the pill that’s tough to swallow/Is there anybody in there?/Who do I have to kill?/I’m not the man with everything/I’ve nothing, but my name.”
The album’s introductory operatics are quickly booted off by the rugged disco thumper “Sunday.” Far from the raunchy proto-punk stylings of his Stooges days, the track bounces to a hypnotic, textured bass groove — it’s a kiss-off that’s a much needed grease to the album’s somber kickstart, punctured by Josh Homme’s trademark falsetto harmonies and a postlude of onerous tubas reminiscent of Queen’s LULLABIES TO PARALYZE days.
“German Days” throws some unexpected nostalgia into the mix, a bluesy toil that revisits the avant-garde thrill of Iggy’s collaborations with David Bowie in Berlin. Just when the listener begins to think Homme’s distinct blend of metal and psychedelia cuts too deep into Iggy’s potent personality, Pop overpowers the swaying melodies with a deep, leveled vibrato. It’s a sound eerily reminiscent of Bowie, almost as if the ensemble has organized a seance for the Thin White Duke himself. The track revisits POST POP’s theatrical, macabre stylings, unveiling a side of Iggy we’ve yet to experience — tasteful and (dare I say) controlled.
At the finale of Iggy’s staged lineup of vaudevillian musings, the listener is hit with POST POP DEPRESSION’S unhinged climax. “Paraguay” starts with a slow-burning bout of strumming and subdued whining; a droll saunter down the road to retirement. Just when things begin to dissipate with a sorry string of tra-la-las, Iggy abruptly U-turns for one epic bitch fit to the millennial world: “You take your motherfuckin’ laptop and just shove it into your goddamn foul mouth, down your shit-heeled gizzard, you fuckin’ phony, two-faced, three-timing piece of turd!” “Paraguay” phenomenally destroys POST POP DEPRESSION’s frilly set dressing, and Iggy’s sign-off lands him right back to where he started: devilishly glam, high-octane, feral — ALIVE AND ETERNALLY KICKING.